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Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly back split from Baghdad

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favour of a split from Iraq, election officers mentioned on Wednesday, as tensions soared between Erbil and Baghdad following a contested referendum.

The “Yes” vote accounted for 92 p.c of those that took phase in Monday’s ballot. 

Turnout used to be 72 p.c of the greater than 5 million eligible citizens, in line with the electoral fee. 

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Erbil, mentioned the announcement used to be consistent with other folks’s expectancies within the area.

Longtime Iraqi Kurd chief Masoud Barzani has mentioned the vote won’t result in an instantaneous declaration of independence and must as an alternative open the door to negotiations.
But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi – who rejected the referendum as unlawful – advised lawmakers on Wednesday there used to be no query of the usage of its effects as the foundation for talks.
“The referendum must be annulled and dialogue initiated in the framework of the constitution. We will never hold talks based on the results of the referendum,” Abadi mentioned.
“We will impose Iraqi law in the entire region of Kurdistan under the constitution,” he mentioned.

READ MORE: Kurds should quit airports or face embargo – Iraqi PM

On Tuesday Iraq threatened to impose a world air embargo at the area if it does now not quit regulate of its airports. Baghdad ultimate week requested overseas international locations to prevent direct flights to the global airports of Erbil and Sulaymaniya, in Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) territory. Soon after, Iran halted direct flights to and from Iraqi Kurdistan.

Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines (MEA) mentioned on Wednesday it is going to droop flights to and from Erbil airport from Friday.

“For now, we’re stopping. The last flight is on the 29th, until they solve the issue,” MEA chairman Mohammad al-Hout advised Reuters information company.

Humanitarian and “emergency” flights are exempted, equipped they’re pre-approved through Baghdad.

READ MORE: Kurdish vote dangers ‘ethnic and sectarian warfare’ – Erdogan

Pressure has been mounting at the Kurds because the vote, now not simply from Baghdad but additionally from Ankara, with Turkey threatening a spread of measures together with reducing off key export routes for the area.

In a televised speech from Ankara on Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to impose sanctions in opposition to the semi-autonomous Kurdish area, pronouncing it “will be left in a lurch” and its other folks would move hungry.

“If [Iraqi Kurd leader Masoud] Barzani and the Kurdish Regional Government do not go back on this mistake as soon as possible, they will go down in history with the shame of having dragged the region into an ethnic and sectarian war,” Erdogan mentioned.

Turkey has lengthy been northern Iraq’s major hyperlink to the outdoor international, however sees the referendum as a danger to its personal nationwide safety, fearing it is going to inflame separatism amongst its personal Kurdish inhabitants.

“It will be over when we close the oil taps, all [their] revenues will vanish, and they will not be able to find food when our trucks stop going to northern Iraq,” Erdogan mentioned.

 

Source: Al Jazeera

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